Former Best Buy Manager Arrested For Stealing Identities From Mailboxes

It’s always fun when you spot people you know in the paper. Like when one reader saw an article about his former Best Buy manager, charged with seventeen counts of third-degree identity thief. Mariusz Paliwoda of Conneticut was arrested recently for stealing over 100 pieces of mail from rural folks’, then using the information to create credit card accounts. Only the cream of the crop, or former Domino’s managers, make it to the top of Best Buy!

Milford man charged in ID theft operation [New Haven Register] (Photo: Getty)


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  1. Bruce says:

    Best Buy – The new hive of scum & villainy.

  2. Shadowfire says:

    Guy was an asshole, and happens to work at a store we all enjoy dissing. Not the fault of Best Buy, so this article is…

    I dunno, silly?

  3. pgh9fan says:

    Let’s just try to use some good grammar. Instead of the posessive “folk’s” we’ll use the plural “folks.”

  4. wellfleet says:

    Full disclosure: I’m a manager at Best Buy…

    This person doesn’t even work at Best Buy any more, so unless this was the man’s only job ever, this could also be titles “Former Arby’s cook” or “Former paperboy”. It’s obvious that there is some clear anti-BBY sentiment from the editors, some of it completely justified, but this is not really fair and um, balanced.

    I have access to plenty of information as a manager and I choose to leave it where it belongs, locked up.


    • EdnaLegume says:

      @wellfleet: I completely agree. Any company could unwittingly hire a n’er do well, and turn to a life of crime. Enron anyone?

      The fact that it was Best Buy, just gives more fuel to the fire.

      *I personally to date have had zero issues with my local BB.

  5. renegadebarista says:

    Aside from the fact that the Consumerist’s editors hate Best Buy can anyone explain how this article has anything to do with Best Buy? Is The Consumerist now going to run an article anytime any major chain has a present or past employee who breaks the law?

    Best Buy didn’t do anything illegal, immoral, or unethical in this case so why even bring them up Ben?

    • Bourque77 says:

      @renegadebarista: A-men I mean this had nothing to do with best buy. I think most folks here dislike them but come on. If you have a big company you are going to have a few employees or ex employees do stupid things. Theres not much they can do about it. If they find out he did it while working for best buy thats different.

      • Mfalconieri says:

        @Bourque77: I understand that Best Buy is not in question here, but don’t you think that it is good for consumers to know that a certain store, has a certain employee stealing 1,000s of information from its clientele? If the Consumerist just said “store employee steals info” everyone would be asking “what store”.

        I think that everyone needs to chill out. No one is talking bad about Best Buy, we are talking bad about Best Buy’s employee conducts, which is a total reflection of……you guessed it….Best Buy.

        • floraposte says:

          Mfalconieri: Sure, but he didn’t steal it from their clientele. He worked there once, and he’s apparently committing a crime now, on people who had nothing to do with Best Buy. I don’t think that’s connected to Best Buy any more than Jeff Bezos’s Mickey D’s time makes Amazon’s success a product of the Golden Arches.

    • @renegadebarista:

      Aside from the fact that the Consumerist’s editors hate Best Buy can anyone explain how this article has anything to do with Best Buy? Is The Consumerist now going to run an article anytime any major chain has a present or past employee who breaks the law?

      Agreed. If the person didn’t use company time or resources to commit the crimes, why is it material who he works for?

  6. seawolf2000 says:

    has Consumerist confirmed that this guy used to work at Best Buy? There is nothing about that in the article. Best Buy has done a lot of bad things, but this is a pretty thin connection to Best Buy. I think this post is really unfair to Best Buy.

  7. endless says:

    i would probably ask a bit further then just did he work for best buy, if he did, how did he leave? and how long ago was it? or is he still there and did he use those false identities at BB?

    cause if he did, now that would be a juicy story.

  8. Why don’t we just start keeping score, now that “hey, a criminal used to have a job at a company we dislike” is noteworthy? I propose the following definition of a employee influence factor p:

    p = (employment level factor) (employment status factor) (crime severity factor)

    The sum of the a company’s p_i is the company suckiness level S for that company, S e.g.

    S = Σ p_i

    Here’s the criteria for determining the value of each factor.

    Employement level factor
    -1 for first-level employee (e.g. cashier, call center employee, customer service rep), -5 for each level 2 employee (contractor, repair person, sales person), and -20 for each manager who commits a crime, and -100 for each executive. If the person has had multiple jobs, we’ll assign the points to the company that we hate the most. For each employee, the score influence is

    Employement status factor
    The second factor will be assigned for crimes that happened before hiring (1.5, unless it’s a part of a probation deal, which is 0.75 because rehabilitation is commendable). If It happened while the employee is employed, the factor is 1.25, unless the offense is related to company or happened while on the clock, which is a 2.0.

    Crime severity factor
    We’ll also consider the nature of the crime. 1.25 for identity theft or any other consumer fraud, 2.0 for murder, 1.75 for sex-related crimes, 1.5 for any other felony. Misdemeanors are 1.0 and an acquittal of any crime is 0.5.

    We should be now be able to determine in a statistical manner the Worst Company in America. I have chose three companies for consideration because I know that they have (or had) criminals in their midst.

    Best Buy: -22.5 (S = -20·1.0·1.25 − 1.0·2.0·1.25)
    Comcast: -60 (S = -5·2.0·1.5 − 5·2.0·2.0^2 − 5*2.0*0.5)
    Worldcom: -900 (S = -100·2.0·1.25 − 100·2.0·1.25 – 100·2.0·1.25 − 100·2.0·1.25 − 20·2.0·1.25 − 20·2.0·1.25)

    Wow! Worldcom just came out of nowhere and won in a landslide. Poor Best Buy was a distant third.

  9. stopNgoBeau says:

    I agree with all of the former posts. This brings up what I’ve been feeling lately. I understand that this site is supposed to be biased towards the consumer, and therefore by default against corporations and businesses, but to some degree or another there have been many stories on here to date that cross the line.

    One of the reasons why I don’t watch regular news is its complete biased base that for some reason is accepted across the board. While I appreciate that this is for the consumer, it becomes a bit anti-corporate/free enterprise quite often.

  10. If you say so, Ben.

  11. Trick says:

    Could it be that this is an example of the type of person Best Buy employs?

    We know Best Buy’s Geek Squad prefers those who can sell computers compared to fixing computers.

    So why not have a shady character manage their store?

    I agree this story is not really about Best Buy but I also see no surprise that a Best Buy manager is also a scumbag thief too…

    Can’t surprise someone when they already expect such a thing.

  12. drjayphd says:

    To be fair, there wasn’t much left in the Milford labor pool after the other businesses in town got their picks: Circuit City… Blue Turtle… Milford Book and Video…

    (Psst: CT has three C’s.)

  13. ShadowFalls says:

    Yeah, unless the guy used his position at Best Buy to apply for these accounts, I do not see how him ever working at Best Buy seems to matter. I don’t even see how pointing out Best Buy at all is even appropriate on a website that is supposed to be taken seriously.

    Unless someone is claiming that this is the type of person Best Buy employs… Since this individual no longer works there and we don’t know what made him become a “former” Best Buy manager, why drag Best Buy’s name through the mud for no reason?

    If you are going to drag Best Buy’s name through the mud, should at least have a valid reason which many could easily point out. This is not one of them.

  14. KoW says:

    I hate to be so harsh, but – what the fuck does this have to do with anything? I love Consumerist, and agree with their viewpoint that Best Buy is quickly turning into a villainous group of jerkoffs, but… so?

    “We found a man, who committed crimes! And guess what, he used to work for a company we hate! Damn the man!”

    Very mature.

  15. seawolf2000 says:

    it seems to me that the consumerist is losing less credibility with stories like these. Corporate types read this blog to get a pulse on the consumer’s experiences. C’mon Ben, you’re phoning it in. Bring back the investigative journalism angle. I remember the comcast tech falling asleep video, the Vincent Ferrari recordings, the letters from Verizon’s lawyers with misspellings and the intern that took a job with those shady door to door sales types.
    go ahead and ban me

  16. AgentTuttle says:

    I think the connection is the irony that Best Buy treats the customer like a thief when they check the receipt at the door while a former or future manager who enforces this policy is, was, or may be a real criminal.

    • wellfleet says:

      @AgentTuttle: This connection is so loose, it’s laughable. I respect everyone’s opinion on here, but BBY sees hundreds of thousands of customers literally every single day in 1000 stores in the U.S. alone, and employs over 100,000 people… There are bound to be bad experiences, bad apples, and bad service. I honestly believe that the incident to traffic ration is fairly low.
      The cheapshots directed to us “high-school dropouts/pimply teenagers/braindead jerks/porn thieves” are not only mostly untrue, they’re also spewed by people who don’t shop at BBY, but love to jump on the bandwagon.
      I would bet many stores index higher in college-educated employees than the average population. I would also bet that if many of you set foot inside a store and tried to have a good experience, you may be shocked that there are employees who care about you and who wouldn’t sell you junk you don’t need.
      The last thing I want to do as a former GS Agent is sell you a new computer. They are loss leaders. Unless your old PC was completely hosed, or was too outdated to salvage, I would rather repair/upgrade it. For one, as we all know, services is where the money’s at, and you likely have XP, which, with a good processor, I try and save every time.

      • Parting says:

        @wellfleet: I would like to see that ”people who care” get paid decent wages.

        It’s not a case at Best Buy. So I won’t encourage them, I prefer to go to a shop which actually treats their employees better.

        Also, I had a friend taking ”application” test online, for a summer job at Best Buy. Seeing all the questions, I told him to go apply elsewhere. Every SECOND question was a paraphrase ”Did you ever steal something in that context?”. That pretty much shows that human resources have ZERO respect and trust towards their candidates and employees.

        1- Working for a company that assumes you are a thief from the start.

        2- No commissions, but a lot of pressure to sell crappy extended warranties.

        3- FALSE advertisements, which show people shopping at Best Buy, being told ”no commissions, no pressure”. What they don’t mention, is that employees have insane sales/warranty objectives to fill. So lying to potential customers.

        And customers, wanting ”no-pressure” will be better served in a commission-paid environment, where it’s in the sales rep best interest to sell you something you will be satisfied with, so you’ll bring your friends/family for future business.

        • @Victo: Um real fast, I am now a Senior for one of the departments at Best Buy and i actually love my job. I started off as holiday/seasonal and have been working for the company for around 3 years. I make more then most of my friends do out of college, get stocks, full health, 401k, OH and they are paying for me to go back to school. Best Buy treats it’s employees a hell of a lot better then a ton of other places, so UNLESS you actually work there just shut up. We don’t have insane objectives to work there, and we are a no-pressure company. I’ve worked at 3 Best Buys so far due to me moving around, and every one has been a major positive experience.

        • Derp says:

          @Victo: @Balance_In_Life:

          Exactly, this guy has no idea what he;s talking about. Out of 100 questions, there may be two to three related to theft. I’ve been with Best Buy for eight years, ever since there were only 300 stores. Since then Best Buy has grown to over 1000 and opening international markets. Say what you think about them “stealing from customer’s” but Best Buy must be doing something right to consistently beat earnings growth quarter after quarter. So go quote another anti-Best Buy line you read off some blog and sell it somewhere else.

        • wellfleet says:

          @Victo: Let me start by saying that this was my first job in the U.S. and I took it because I really needed the money: I had lots of experience and degrees, but no job openings in my field. A manager believed in me and started me off at $10. As a cashier! Show me a cashier making that much money in any retail business. I have since literally tripled my salary in two years working my way up the ranks.

          I can’t vouch for all stores and all employees, there are thousands. But your logic is akin to me saying “I hate Bulgaria and all Bulgarians because my brother was once robbed by a Bulgarian in Central Park”.

          I never assume anyone is a thief, but it is absolutely proven that 90% of shrink is paperwork and employee theft. We have lots of cool, tempting product and lots of ways to try to rip it off. We do criminal background checks and drug tests. So does any major company these days.

          I have never pressured a single soul to sell anything the customer wouldn’t benefit from. Why would I? The customer would just return it the next day. We have daily budgets that we need to hit as a store: it’s called, you know, retail business. If you ran a business, you, too, would have fiduciary responsibilities to your shareholders and employees. If we don’t hit budget, we can’t pay all of our people.

          I have a great 401K, affordable and really good medical and dental, tuition reimbursement which is paying for my MBA, and they’ll the charity I volunteer at $1000 dollars for every 40 hours I volunteer.

          Not trying to sound like rah-rah, but I’m damn proud to work for a company that scores a perfect 100 on the Human Rights Campaign’s best places to work. I am proud that BBY has adoption assistance for straight AND gay couples, as well as benefits for same-sex partners. How come you never mention that? Oh right, it’s easier to spew forth about things you know little about. One experience does not a company make. If it did, all my regular customers would cancel your bad experiences out.

          I try to get better every day and it’s ignorant to piss on my efforts. I find it offensive. I never took a dime from anyone.

      • Parting says:

        @wellfleet: And read bohemian post :

        ”I have been either avoiding or paying cash at Best Buy since they did the scam a few years ago where they were signing people up for MSN without their knowledge or signing them up for magazines that automatically renewed in a year for about $300”

        Another reason to avoid Best Buy as a company. Stealing from its customers…

  17. UK_HollyWood says:

    As a BestBuy employee in a leadership position, it challenges the credibility of the site when an article such as this is posted. Although this site is consumer slanted, the fact that the resources of the company referenced were not used in the said crime, that company should not be referred in the article.

  18. bohemian says:

    I think it says something about Best Buy and their hiring practices. A normal sane credible person doesn’t just one day start stealing mail and doing multiple ID thefts.

    There is a big case of irony that the prick running the local Best Buy may be just a huge crook in a blue polo. Not that I didn’t already think they might be. I have been either avoiding or paying cash at Best Buy since they did the scam a few years ago where they were signing people up for MSN without their knowledge or signing them up for magazines that automatically renewed in a year for about $300.

  19. SigmundTheSeaMonster says:

    To all you BB haters: I salute you.
    To all you BB managers and supporters: tools!

    Having had a brother work for BB for years, get moved over, annually for management, and eventually sue (and settle) for age discrimination, I can pretty much state BB management is on par with being #3 worst company.

  20. formerbbyguy says:

    This guy really was an asshole and it’s about time some of his actions were brought to light. There is a lot of stuff behind the scened that goes on with best buy staff. I myself used to work with and under Mariusz at BBY. I am sure he signed up for all those Netflix accounts they caught him with through BBY. He probably did that to push up his numbers. When I was with the company they would always do stuff like automatically signing people up for magazine subscriptions without telling them. There was a lot of shady stuff that went on, and when the managers or GM caught on it was swept under the rug. Mariusz worked for store 300 in Orange and dont you think there must be a reason they have gone through half a dozen GM’s by now?